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By ESPN Staff

Italy: Gattuso's return comes too late for Milan

AC Milan's Gennaro Gattuso may be back for Saturday's trip to Udinese (1830 GMT) but it probably comes too late, with rivals Inter Milan on the verge of the scudetto.

Leaders Inter will clinch their fourth successive league title if second-placed Milan lose.

Should Milan draw or win, Inter would just have to match their result when hosting Siena on Sunday (1830) to seal their triumph given they are seven points clear with three to play.

Midfielder Gattuso, out since knee ligament surgery in December, has made a speedy recovery and could make a comeback with David Beckham suspended.

His return is a boost for the Rossoneri, who have endured a difficult week with speculation about the futures of coach Carlo Ancelotti and playmaker Ronaldinho continuing to swirl.

Ronaldinho has struggled since his move from Barcelona in July and has only managed the bench of late, prompting Brazilian media to talk of a possible transfer.

Ancelotti has been constantly linked with Chelsea but Gattuso is confident the coach will remain at the San Siro.

"Ancelotti will stay, I hope I'm not wrong," he told Sky television. "From what I hear, also in the dressing room, he has a great relationship with everyone and over 90 percent of the people working at Milan want him to stay."

Gattuso is keen to get straight back into action after Italy coach Marcello Lippi said he would consider him for June's Confederations Cup if he played by the end of the season.

Jose Mourinho's Inter can not wait for the campaign to conclude having been on the brink of the title for weeks.

They won the 2007 title against Siena but wasted a chance to seal the crown last year when they draw 2-2 with the same opponents, leading to a nervy few days before the scudetto was finally theirs.

Third-bottom Bologna host second-bottom Lecce on Sunday (1300) in a big relegation clash while basement side Reggina could go down if they lose at home to Cagliari and Torino win at Napoli.


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